This Carne Molida (Puerto Rican Picadillo) recipe is a hyper-tasty seasoned ground beef used as a filling to several Puerto Rican appetizers and dishes or simply eaten with rice.
Carne Molida in English translates simply to ground meat. This Puerto Rican Picadillo is a delicious blend of ground meat, peppers, onions, potatoes, olives, cilantro and spices in a savory tomato based sauce.
It is very similar to a Cuban, Dominican and Mexican Picadillo recipe with slightly different spices and ingredients and is used in a variety of Puerto Rican dishes.
For example, it is the filling to “Empanadillas de Carne (Puerto Rican Meat Turnovers)” to “Pastelillos de Carne (Puff Pastry Meat Pies),” to “Puerto Rican Lasagna” to “Puerto Rican Spaghetti (Espagueti con Carne),” and “Pastelon (Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna),” just to name a few.
Carne Molida is very easy to make and highly flavorful! Within a few minutes you will have a tasty seasoned ground meat recipe that you will surely keep coming back to.
Not sure what to make for dinner?
With just a handful of ingredients you will always be ready to make this easy delicious Puerto Rican Picadillo and serve alongside white rice, habichuelas guisadas (Puerto Rican Beans), garlic tostones (Fried Garlic Plantains) and slices of avocado. Absolute YUM!
Ingredients for Carne Molida (Puerto Rican Picadillo)
- 1 pound ground meat
- 1 potato cubed
- 1 small white onion chopped
- 1/2 a green pepper chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Puerto Rican Sofrito
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons pimiento stuffed olives cut in half or three
- 1 packet of Sazón with Culantro and Annato
- 4 ounces of tomato sauce
- half a handful of fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 capful of red or white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
***Note: If you live in an area where you can find culantro leaves in your produce section, add one to two chopped leaves to ground meat. It brings the flavors of the ground meat to a whole other level of deliciousness!
How to Make Carne Molida (Puerto Rican Picadillo)
Begin with adding the ground meat to a skillet over medium heat. Break ground meat apart with a spoon or spatula.
Add the peppers, onions, sofrito, garlic, sazon, oregano, cumin and vinegar and mix well. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes covered.
Note: If ground meat is too oily, drain some of the oil out of pan.
Add tomato sauce, olives, water, potatoes and cilantro. Stir well. Cook for 15 minutes covered.
Carne molida is done.
Serve Carne Molida With or Use as a Filling For
- Arroz Blanco ( Puerto Rican White Rice)
- white rice and habicuelas guisadas (Puerto Rican Beans)
- filling for Empandillas de Carne (Puerto Rican Empanadas)
- filling for Pastelillos de Carne (Puff Pastry Meat Pies)
- Pastelon (Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna)
- Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Balls)
- Beef Mofongo (Puerto Rican Beef and Plantains)
- Canoas de Platano (Stuffed Plantains)
*The word pastelillos is also synonymous to empanadillas in Puerto Rican culture.
Carne Molida (Puerto Rican Picadillo)
- 1 lb ground meat
- 1-2 potatoes cubed into small pieces
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1/2 green pepper chopped
- 2 tbsp Puerto Rican sofrito
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp pimiento stuffed olives cut in half
- 1 packet Sazón with Culantro and Annato
- 4 ounces tomato sauce I use Goya brand
- half a handful of fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1 capful of white or red vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- salt to taste optional
- Begin with adding the ground meat to a skillet over medium heat. Break ground meat apart with a spoon or spatula.
- Add the peppers, onions, sofrito, garlic, sazon, oregano, cumin and vinegar and mix well. Lower heat and cook for 10 minutes covered.Note: If ground meat is too oily, drain some of the oil out of pan.
- Add tomato sauce, olives, water, potatoes and cilantro. Stir well. Cook for 15 minutes covered.Carne molida is done.
Sharon Chen says
This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to cook this at home.
You will love it Sharon!
Tawnie Kroll says
What a great meal!
Sara Welch says
Wow! So much flavor in one bowl; I can’t wait to try this savory meal!
You will love it Sara!
Such a satisfying meal! My husband loved it! Thanks for the recipe!
You made my day! That’s wonderful to hear!
Shashi at SavorySpin says
I haven’t ever had a Picadillo – and I’m wondering why not – this is such a tasty blend of meat and potatoes – I am so loving the addition of olives with pimentos in this – sounds so tasty!
Thanks Shashi! Yes it really is a delicious blend for a variety of dishes!
This is like the 5th recipe I’ve tried so far and it was amazing!! I didn’t change a thing. I actually made your tamales as well for this meal and it was worth the work.My husband was very impressed as to the depth of the flavors. So very good, a must try!!!
This is now my go to recipe website!
Hello Gina! So happy to see you here! You have made my day with such a sweet comment!! I cannot thank you enough for those kinds words and for the 5 star rating! I am so so very happy that you and your husband are enjoying my recipes and that I have earned your faith to make me your go to recipe website. What an honor!! Thank you so very much again!! If you and your husband like pork, you must try my new recipe Puerto Rican Pinchos/Pinchos de Cerdo (Puerto Rican Pork Skewers). One of my favorite! But if you do make this recipe and are able to grill them, make sure to use lump charcoal, as it makes these pinchos truly authentic and a world of difference in flavor versus regular briquettes. Also try Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Balls) which is another favorite of mine! If you do make these, I hope you and your husband really enjoy these as well! Let me know if you do and how you and your husband enjoyed them! Thank you so much again Gina, you truly made my day!
Looks like a great recipe. ! am using tonight, New Year’s eve, for my alcapurias. I have one question, though. You never mention salt, why not?
Hi Manny! Oh alcapurrias would be so perfect tonight! Manny, below in the recipe card, I do mention salt but put it as (optional) to add because between all the flavors and the Sazon, some people will not want to add salt. So taste the carne when it’s cooked and see if you would like to add a little salt and if so, add a little bit at a time to the carne and stir, taste again and add more if needed and stir until you get it to your liking. I usually add very little to mine….I hope this helps! Happy New Year Manny! Let me now if there is anything else I can help you with and how the alcapurrias turned out! Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate you!